Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are both expected to return to practice on Tuesday. Bryant has been practicing off and on with the Los Angeles Lakers for two weeks, and the possibility of a return on Friday has not yet been ruled out. Nash is a different story all together.
“[Nash will] be at practice on Tuesday,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni confirmed on Sunday.
The coach said he had spoken with the 39-year-old point guard, and Nash had made improvements. The Canadian point guard was pulled during the first half of the Lakers’ Nov. 11 loss to Minnesota and has not practiced since.
After missing 10 games and seeing a specialist north of the border, Nash appears ready to return to the team. With Jordan Farmar out for four weeks with a torn hamstring, Nash’s return could be perfectly timed from D’Antoni’s standpoint.
“I think so,” D’Antoni responded when asked if Nash would take part in practice.
With regards to Bryant, he last practiced with the Lakers on Saturday in light five-on-zero drills. Bryant originally returned to Lakers practice on Nov. 16, which was also a light Saturday practice. Similar to the upcoming week, the Lakers had three practices before a Friday game.
That time around, Bryant practiced hard the first two days and sat out Thursday’s practice to rest what was best described as “normal” soreness. This time around, the hope is that Bryant will complete all three practices and play in Friday’s game in Sacramento.
From Friday onwards, the Lakers hit a rather hectic stretch of 14 games before New Year’s Day, and eight of those 14 games are on the road. If Bryant is ready, he will be thrust into the firing line immediately.
With Bryant already traveling with the team during his recovery, there is no reason to suspect he would shy away from a return on the road.
“Three days of practice, then we’ll evaluate him,” D’Antoni said after Sunday’s game. “[A return on Friday] might happen; it might not. And the only way we’ll be able to evaluate it is [to] let these three days go by.”
“I don’t have the slightest clue if it’s Friday or not,” D’Antoni concluded regarding Bryant’s return.